San Francisco noise rockers Black Rebel Motorcycle Club celebrate their 20th anniversary this year, which they began with the release of their eighth studio album, Wrong Creatures. The trio of founding members Robert Levon Been and Peter Hayes, who co-front the band, and drummer Leah Shapiro (who joined in 2008 after the departure of original drummer Nick Jago) may have been at it for two decades now, but they’ve never compromised on their distinctive sound – or on their lengthy, intense shows. Monday night at the 9:30 Club was no exception, with the band doing a two-and-a-half-hour-long strobe light- and fog machine-fueled set.
The band opened the show with a trio of songs from the new album – “Spook,” “Little Thing Gone Wild,” and “King of Bones” – before looking backward to the title track of their 2010 album Beat the Devil’s Tattoo. Though Wrong Creatures took much of the focus, with nine of the twelve tracks from the album making up nearly half of the night’s set list, most of the previous records were represented as well. Songs like “Ain’t No Easy Way,” “Shuffle Your Feet,” “Six Barrel Shotgun,” and “Conscience Killer” have all become classics in the group’s catalog. For the most part the band went directly from one song to the next with barely a break. The biggest exception happened mid-set, when Hayes and Shapiro left the stage to allow Been to do a solo acoustic rendition of the Ewan MacColl classic “Dirty Old Town.”
Seattle garage rockers Night Beats opened the set. The band released their third and most recent album, Who Sold My Generation, in 2016.